Oil Mess In The Garage: What To Do
There are so many solutions to an oil mess that they are difficult to sort through. The first measures to consider are always preventive, and consist of absorbent powders and materials, although the most urgent messes are those which occur over a sensitive surface, or have been left for a period of time.
The best approach to an existing oil mess is to remove the puddle of oil first, of course. There are few things more dangerous for kids, pets, and the value of nearby tools and installations than a puddle of oil sitting on the garage floor. Take some special absorbent material, which often looks like kitty litter, and distribute evenly over the spill until it is all soaked up.
Unless the oil is the same shade as the floor, or is completely fresh, there will probably be a stain on the floor. If the floor is cracked or pitted, this stain will be basically impossible to remove with conventional methods. It is possible to remove every trace of an oil mess, but it will take some dedication and creativity.
In any case, after you have swept away the majority of the oil mess and disposed of it properly, look for a solvent which should soak the spill immediately. There’s no reason to leave it overnight, but brush in a solvent quickly to reach all of the nooks and crannies, carefully avoiding the additional spread of the mess.
You may have to apply oil solvents repeatedly. Think of removing the oil mess as you would washing your hands. Every pore must be attended to, or the the stain will penetrate another area. Even a cement floor will develop a deep stain if it has not been finished with an epoxy or other protective coating. If you’re having trouble, try different products, and ask a professional’s advice.
If all else fails, remember that there are still multiple options. A professional will have no trouble fixing your floor. More sensitive surfaces will have more sensitive solutions. Solvents are not the end of the road. The floor may have to be sanded, blasted, or resurfaced, so be prepared for these steps after a particularly nasty oil mess.
Far from a disaster, an oil mess can be an excellent opportunity to reevaluate the setup of your garage. Learn from the accident, not to prevent all of them in the future, but to have absorbent pads and materials nearby in order to save time and money. Approach this as an ongoing concern, and you can’t go wrong.
There’s nothing wrong with resurfacing an oil mess. In the worst case, attend to all such stains annually, and be prepared to completely resurface the garage floor. Remember that the value here is in the resale of a sparkling garage, and not in obsessing about every spill. Most people don’t mind a garage with a few stains, but there’s a definite “wow” factor to a spotless garage.